72 of 74 people found the following review helpful
Quality, speed, ease of use and decent asset management,
This review is from: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 (Mac/PC) (CD-ROM)Lightroom 3 is a leap. Its raw conversion--Lightroom's core feature--produces clarity, sharpness and detail that shame all previous Adobe raw converters, particularly for higher-ISO images. Noise reduction is outstanding--in previous releases, a base level of luminance noise reduction blunted the finer detail of your low-light work, robbing it of some of its bite, even with the luminance slider set to zero. Now, you get zesty details and exceptionally effective control of noise. Colour noise reduction is simply in another league now, and luminance NR can restore the gloss to smooth surfaces (like car bodywork shot in low light) in a way that was previously the preserve of dedicated, third-party noise-reduction applications and plugins. Learn the combined effects of sharpening, masking, the detail sliders and noise reduction in Lightroom 3; when you do, you'll find it hard to produce better basic conversions from other raw converters. With the creative sharpening tools, the graduated filters and the other brushes for local adjustments, the quality of Lightroom 3's output quickly reaches giddy heights.
This release includes all the image management and workflow capabilities of Lightroom 2 with some useful workflow tweaks and an improved import interface. There are new and very useful development tools to reduce optical distortion and to quickly correct for the effects you get when subjects have parallel lines that appear to converge when photographed from less-than-perfect positions. (This easy, after-the-fact correction is a poor photographer's shift lens and you pay in pixels, not pounds. We'd all love a decent set of tilt-shift lenses but sometimes, you have to take what you can afford and pixels are getting more affordable, unlike, say, a Nikkor 24mm PC-E. Ah, the Nikkor 24mm PC-E... [Pauses for a moment and wipes a tear from his eye.])
For many photographers, Lightroom 3 is all the post-processing and image management they'll ever need. For those who require Photoshop for advanced pixel-level work, photomontage or the addition & removal of elements from pictures, Lightroom 3 works exceptionally well with Photoshop CS 4 (you need to upgrade your ACR plugin to v5.7 for free) and of course, with CS 5. If you round-trip between Lightroom and Photoshop, you'll be glad to know that you can send a Photoshopped image back to Lightroom and later, back to Photoshop with all your previous layers preserved--no need to flatten.
Print and web output, with the output sharpening licensed from the PixelGenius folks, is unmatched. Upsizing and downsizing are both handled beautifully--your low-res web images will look sharp but not crunchy. Printing is one of Lightroom's strong points but I'll leave that for another time. If you made it this far, you'll have realised that I consider Lightroom 3 to be a terrific package. I'm withholding a quarter of a star because there's no soft proofing and a quarter because there's no book-printing package included. (Unfortunately, I had to round up to the nearest number of whole stars.) The Lightroom team has done an exceptionally good job--this is a landmark release.